An embarrassing moment

2 posts / 0 new
Last post
tomkelly's picture
Joined: 07/02/2010
Posts: 48
An embarrassing moment

I must share a moment in time with you when I made a fool of myself in front of a group of Gilbertese in mid 1959.

I was driving from the airfield back to main camp one afternoon when I spotted a large group of adults fishing in one of the artificial lagoons just off the road. I stopped to take photos of the families driving quite large fish from one end of the water into waiting nets and hands at the other end.
At the end of one run, a little lad came to me and offered a fair size fish as a gift. It was a moment of pure friendship between his family and me; a happy time for native and visitor.
I then thought it hilarious to throw the fish up high into the waiting beaks of the ever hungry birds, and watch them sqabble and fight for the fish in midair. When I looked back to the boy and his family I realised what a prat I had made of myself. What had been first a good meal for them, then a gift to me had now been completely wasted.
20th century westerner and semi civilised islander.
I drove away as soon as I had finished a poor apology.

On Xmas Island Mar 58-Jan 59 (Grapple Y and Z)then returned in Oct 59 until Apr 1960. First visit tents and H bombs; second time wooden huts and a life of leisure.

Brian's picture
Joined: 18/05/2009
Posts: 297

ah well Tom- can't win em all!
Did you ever see those people going after octopus?
Method was to dive down to where one was lurking inside its underwater lair. They had some trick whereby they got the beast to lash out and wrap its tentacles around the diver. Then they surfaced asap with the thing wrapped all around the body.
suppose the family had a decent meal at the expense of a few sucker marks which soon wore off.